In 2011 ESWB started a partnership with Bridges To Community (BTC) to develop a series of projects that address the needs of developing communities in Nicaragua.
We are partnering up again with Bridges to Community, an NGO based in Siuna. Our group will assist the residents of Rosa Grande in their endeavor to expand their local chocolate factory into an international business. Using our engineering background, we will help the factory reach international health code standards. Furthermore, we will analyze successful business techniques employed by small entrepreneurial businesses in the U.S. and attempt to implement them with the chocolate business. When we are not working at the factory, we will be building latrines, small bridges, and other minor projects.
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Five ESWB students utilized sustainable methods to alleviate problems in the rural community of Rosa Grande, in the first year of a five year project. Recognizing that a common failure of development projects is a breakdown in communication between the community and the development agency, the research team pursued innovative information gathering techniques. These included Photovoice, water testing, and GIS mapping to identify and address significant issues in the community.In the Photovoice Project, the team distributed cameras to a diverse group of community members with directions to capture images of problems in their community. The Photovoice method allows a window into the community without creating an invasive and paternalistic environment, and will guide BTC’s future projects in the area.
The research team conducted Water Testing at several water sources in and around the local community. Results acquired measuring pH, turbidity, E. Coli., and general coliform will shape future water projects in Rosa Grande, by analyzing the quality of potential water sources.
The team also used GIS Mapping to plot hundreds significant pints of interest around the community. An interactive map was developed with complete water testing data, photos, and site plans that were collected during their stay.
Photovoice: Involved a creative process of gathering diverse ideas and perspectives on community-based development. Community voices were amplified, allowing community leadership, BTC staff, and student researchers to gain a better understanding of the community’s needs and priorities. The participatory research process allowed participants to gain directly from data that was collected.
Water Testing: Quality of water sources was tested and integrated into plans for the future water system. Results were translated and shared with community members and leadership to foster a better understanding of water quality in the community.
GIS Data: Research was compiled and disseminated to the community in the form of an interactive electronic GIS map.
We were published in the Vol. 8, No. 1 issue of the International Journal for Service Learning in Engineering!
Seven ESWB students planned to identify sustainable methods of defining and addressing needs in a previously unknown community. Recognizing the most common failure of development projects—a breakdown in communication between the local community and the development agency—the research team pursued innovative information-gathering techniques, such as Photovoice, water testing, and GIS mapping, to determine significant issues in the community of Fonseca (a small suburb of Siuna).
The team distributed digital cameras to households in the community, with directions to capture images of common problems in their lives and in the community. This Photovoice method allowed a window into the lives of the Fonseca community, without creating an invasive or paternalistic environment, and will guide BTC’s future projects in the area.
Additionally, the research team implemented water-quality testing at several water sources in and around the local community. The team also used GPS tracking units to plot water testing points, and other significant points of interest around the community. With this the team developed an interactive GIS map, complete with water testing data, photos, and site plans collected during their stay in Fonseca. BTC is using this tool to guide their construction of a water piping system for households in Fonseca.
The Nicaragua Team is set to fly to Managua, Nicaragua on July 29th! However, they still need a little help with the funding. Please support our team by donating here. They will appreciate it greatly! Donate Here!
ESWB has continued its partnership with the NGO Bridges to Community, and another team will be traveling to Siuna, Nicaragua to work with the Rosa Grande community. We have already been working hard in preparation for the trip: applying for research and travel grants, investigating community needs, and planning the trip. We plan to work… Read more »
I just wanted to inform you that the Siuna trip for 2012 has been approved by the ISO!! The team of students (Sara Link, Ali Aslam, Holly Mayton, Matt Pearson-Beck and myself) have been working very hard for the last couple months to petition the ISO’s ban of travel to Nicaragua. Today we received word… Read more »
Come check out our end of project presentation on 1/25/12 at 5pm in room D222.